Annyong everyone! (Hehe, is it just me? I’ve always thought ‘annyong everyone‘ looks a little like ‘annoying everyone‘ and would wear a small smile on my face whenever I type those two words.)
I’ve just passed my one-month mark into my new role. Gotta say I’m still trying to find my way around and I’m most definitely still at an extremely awkward stage with my team. But hey, my spirits remain super high! It’s really a job that I think I can grow to reall really really love, and can do well in. Can’t wait to really start-start.
Funny it’s taking me so long to ease into the team. I’ve always been one to get along famously with people younger than me, yes, even those who are much, much younger. Despite how I look (what with the jet black hair and big eyes), I am really not THAT serious inside, hee! Oh well, I ain’t one to rush these things anyway. So I’d just let time take over and let nature run its own course. I really believe it’s just a matter of time before I become more comfortable in the team and in my job.
I wanna do well and I wanna love what I do! I’ve even told a couple of closer friends that this is as close to my dream job as I can imagine it.
Something a teammate said to me kept ringing in my head. He’d said something to the effect that he really wanna give back to society and all that, but he ain’t so big and grand that he’d go into volunteering full-time. So, he’d said, “This is one job that allows me to earn money AND karma.”
Yup, yup, I want that too! So yea, I’m gonna make this work!
Haha, I was just gonna blog about my fave Korean barbecue restaurant! And had ended up sprouting some 300 words’ worth of ramblings! Once again, consider yourself forewarned that I’m the Queen of (Self-indulgent) Digression!
I’d mentioned in AN EARLIER POST that one of my two fave Korean restaurants in Singapore are Red Pig and Kkokkonara. Coz I ‘checked into’ Red Pig so often on my Foursquare (yea, yea, now replaced by Swarm), I’ve had many people asking me about it. Since I was there on Friday night, I decided to just snap some photos and blog about it some.
Located in one of those two-storey shophouses along Amoy Street, Red Pig is nothing spectacular looking from the outside, save for the signboard with its name in English and Korean and a red pig.
Look into the restaurant, you’ll see that its walls are painted red to live up to its Red Pig name.
These photos are from level two, but level one looks pretty much the same except for the location of the cashier counters.
I’d started going to Red Pig from some four years ago, in 2010 or thereabouts? Back then, they’d only one level and would be really packed for dinner. They didn’t used to take reservations from 7pm, so I remember having to wait outside for a table. And I also remember many occasions where people were peering in from the outside, watching us eat while they waited for their tables.
Anyway, they started operating from both levels one or two years ago, and they now also take reservations even for after 7pm. If you’ve a big group or prefer not to take the chance of having to wait for a table, I recommend you call and make reservations.
Back when we first started going to Red Pig, there were a lot more Koreans eating there and not so many locals. Perhaps the locals hadn’t gotten wind of what a gem of a find Red Pig was. But later, Red Pig started making the lists of many sites’ Top Korean BBQ Restaurants in Singapore, oh my… the locals started flooding in.
Maybe it’s also due to the fact that all things Korean have become more mainstream than alternative. This is especially so in the areas of Korean entertainment, Korean skincare and Korean food. Korean dramas are like staple items on our TV programme listings. What used to sit on our vanity tables were skincare products from France and Japan, but now, it’ll be difficult to find one woman in Singapore who doesn’t own even one Korean beauty product. Food? Well, I’ve lost count of the new Korean eating places that are popping out EVERYWHERE. One of the ‘strangest’ I’ve seen lately is the opening of a Korean BBQ place at Queensway Shopping Centre, aka the place to buy your sports shoes.
Here, the menu (and also the logo).
First things first, let’s get the drinks order out of the way. They serve complimentary iced barley drink, so you don’t really have to order drinks if you don’t feel like it. But hey, what’s a night out to a Korean BBQ place with NO alchohol, ya?
Korean beer goes quite well with BBQ meat. I personally like Korean beer (especially Cass and Hite!) coz they’re light and mighty refreshing, fab for summer and perfect for Singapore!
But if you wanna be more ‘Korean’, or wanna play out scenes from your fave K-dramas, then I guess you just gotta order soju! But be forewarned that it’s really really really potent, k? Alcohol content can range from 16% to 45%, but most soju commercially available here is around 18-20%. So drink slow and don’t yell ‘One shot‘ more often than you can handle! (‘One shot‘ is the Korean equivalent of ‘Bottoms up‘)
Or, you can also order MAKGEOLLI, a traditional Korean milky rice wine. Some Westerners refer to this as Korean rice beer, same thing. I love this actually, especially with a dash of cider! And it’s packed with Vitamin B and lotsa proteins, and fab for our skin! But I like it more as a second round after BBQ coz I think it doesn’t quite go as well with BBQ meat. The lighter and crispier taste of beer and soju complements BBQ meat better.
However, if it’s your first outing to a Korean restaurant, or if you’d never tried Makgeolli before, then go ahead and try it! At Red Pig, they do it quite the Korean way. If you order the makgeolli, they will shake the bottle really vigorously to ‘wake up the drink’ before pouring it into one of those gold-coloured kettles and serving it to you with gold-coloured bowls. Nice photo opportunity!
Back to Red Pig now…
Once you’re seated, they will bring you the tumbler of barley drink and menu. And soon, plates of banchan (side dishes) will also be served.
Aiya, I missed out taking pics of the eggroll and radish! Just imagine that they’re there, k?
The corn and eggroll are not refillable, if you want another serving, it will cost you $5 each. But you can ask for refill for the other banchan. I personally like the tofu and the beansprouts (and mind you, this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually eat beansprouts!)
I think one comes to Red Pig for the BBQ, so if you prefer not to have BBQ, then I strongly suggest you go somewhere else. Why? Coz like it or not, you will surely stink of BBQ after the meal, so if you ain’t even gonna order BBQ, there’re other good or even better Korean restaurants elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, the place ain’t chokey-smoky, and the BBQ smell will still cling to your clothes and your hair.
When at Red Pig, you just gotta order their signature Red Pig. It’s their secret recipe of spicy red marinate and oh boy, it really does give you a good kick, hoho!
ZZANG!! Here’s the before and after photos of Red Pig. If pork’s more your poison than your meat, they also have the chicken version.
What you saw above are two servings of Red Pig at $20 a pop. Not cheap, like I told you. It costs more than twice as much to eat a Korean meal here than in Korea. But what to do when the craving comes calling? Actually for me, the craving doesn’t even come calling! It sorta comes YELLING sia!
Red Pig is quite unlike most of the BBQ meat you’d find in most other Korean restaurants here. Like I’d said, it’s their own recipe and something that the lady boss is quite proud of. I remember there was once we didn’t order Red Pig and she chided me about it, haha!
It’s quite spicy, but bearably and yummiliciously so. And I’m someone who can’t really take very spicy stuff. If you like the whole works, you can wrap it in the lettuce, complete with the garlic, green pepper and gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste).
If you still find it too spicy, you can wrap it into the lettuce together with some rice. That should make the spiciness more tolerable.
And if it’s really bad, then you can try getting hold of some milk and drink it! The diary in the milk should help calm the volcano exploding in your mouth. Or, take in a pinch of salt. But hehe, I doubt it will come to that lah. Red Pig really ain’t THAT spicy (except for last Friday!! Did the chef forget and add double the dose of chilli or whatttt?!)
Since there’re four of us, we decided to order one serving of the Soy Chicken too. I really quite like this one! So if not everyone in your party digs spicy food, you can also try this!
One other hugely popular dish at Red Pig is its Seafood Pancake (haemul pajeon). Gotta say the pajeon used to be slightly bigger, crispier and nicer when we first started eating here. But but but, judging from the way other diners have been lapping up every last morsel of the pajeon, I’d reckon it’s still good by most people’s standards.
Hand on heart, I honestly think the pajeon is only a distant cousin of what the original pajeon used to be. Nope, not an once-off thing either. We order this dish practically every time we’re at Red Pig, and it’s been not so nice for the past months. In fact, we even sent it back to the kitchen two visits ago coz it wasn’t nicely browned! Kindda sad, coz this really used to be oh-so-yummy!
Other than Red Pig, BBQ soy chicken and seafood pancake, you can also try their Spicy Tofu Stew (soondubu chigae) and cold noodles which I think are quite decent too.
For lunch, they have set lunches at around $10. Comes with a main and a bowl of rice, so it’s quite good value. No BBQ during lunch; keke, else everyone will be smelling like barbecued pork in the office!
Hee, here’s a pic of us with our happy bellies last Friday night!
Well, my friends and I have found that the food quality at Red Pig hasn’t been consistent over the past months. Not sure if there’s been changes in the kitchen, but the differences have been very noticeable.
Take the side dishes. the tofu and the beansprouts have been tasting different, and it’s bad-different. The sauce used on the tofu is a washed down version of its old form, and the beansprouts tasted bitter over the past (at least) three visits. The pajeon just gets from superb to good to not-bad… Even the Red Pig last Friday was A LOT spicier than usual, although thankfully, still nice.
And a few friends who had recently visited Red Pig also had a less-than-pleasant experience, service-wise. They were told there’s no refill of the banchan unless they ordered another serving of meat. But I thought maybe there’s a miscomm somewhere, or perhaps it’s coz that particular staff’s new. Banchan refill (other than the corn and the eggroll, of course) has never been a problem. I also don’t think it’s coz we’re regular and get better treatment; I do see other tables getting their banchan refills whenever we’re there.
Hopefully, that was just an once-off episode. Sadly, it was enough to put my friends off and they’ve already written off Red Pig off their list. Really kindda sad (at least for me personally), coz I really do like that place! And they’re quite possibly the first amongst my friends who ended up not liking the place.
Me worrrrried! I really really like Red Pig and the sense of familiarity built over the years is really something that cannot be taken away. We’ve celebrated birthdays and other occasions there, brought new-found friends, and cried over soju there. It’ll be sad to see it wither away to just another unremarkable Korean restaurant out to make a Singaporean buck.
I think the manpower crunch has also made things hard for the restaurant. It was so short-handed last Friday night that the two staff manning the upper lever were having such a hard time tending to all the tables. We’re long-time regulars, and we can sorta excuse the lack of attention coz we know they can be really good on their good days. But what of the newer customers? They might just write Red Pig off as one with inconsistent food and inattentive service. That’d be so bad.
Red Pig will be a special place to me for a long time. Too many memories there. The lady boss may not know my name, but she recognizes my face and would call out to me even if she sees me elsewhere. And if we go on weekday evenings, she warns us about not over-drinking since we gotta work the next day. There was once she even made the kitchen prepare steamed egg for us coz we were drinking a bit much, and she thought the egg could help line our stomach.
We’d also been on the receiving end of the lady boss’ occasional generosity. Like when she gave us free beer when we were there for New Year’s eve dinner, and she also generously plonked down plum wine when we were celebrating Germaine’s and YYANN’s birthdays there.
So please, Red Pig, don’t lose it!
BLOGGER BEATRICE TAN’s PHOTOS FROM HER RED PIG DINNER
SLOWCHOMP on RED PIG
Hours: Lunch 12nn – 2:30pm Dinner 5:30pm – 11:00pm
Tel: +65 6220 7176
93 Amoy Street, Singapore 069913